Image result for hash bash michigan

the annual "Hash Bash" in Ann Arbor is actually held on April Fool's Day

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and highly restricted in most states. Very substantial numbers of Americans oppose the liberalization of these regulations, and for various reasons we won't go into. Yet half of Americans (and an overwhelmingly larger segment of the under-50 population) have tried marijuana, and the vast majority of these approve its medical or even recreational use. From the folklorist's point of view, the combination of prohibition of x with popularity of x is quite inevitably going to create a community of use, and a furtive one, with all the dynamics of fringe folk groups.

Undeniably, marijuana users constitute a folk-community, with (for example) a lingo that displays both stability ("reefer," "roach" "joint" have been in use for a century or more) and also some pretty dramatic variability across time and geography, sometimes with shibboleth features -- that is, knowing the terminology serves a password function, indicating membership in the community. There are rituals as well (as there are with alcohol and -- increasingly with restriction -- tobacco). Unsurprisingly then, this folk group also has calendrical customs. Probably for most marijuana users, the substance is no more an element of personal identity than chewing gum or shoelaces, but for some small number, April 20 -- "four twenty," "420" -- is a significant date.

Here's a CNN article listing several common originary stories: the "California Penal Code," the "Police Radio Code," the "Dylan song" and "the Waldos."

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